Psalm 147 - How Real Are Our Praises To God?
Updated: Aug 26, 2019
Praise the Lord. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise Him!
The Lord builds up Jerusalem; He gathers the exiles of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power; His understanding has no limit.
The Lord sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground.
Sing to the Lord with grateful praise; make music to our God on the harp.
He covers the sky with clouds; He supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills.
He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call.
His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor His delight in the legs of the warrior;
the Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love.
Extol the Lord, Jerusalem; praise your God, Zion.
He strengthens the bars of your gates and blesses your people within you.
He grants peace to your borders and satisfies you with the finest of wheat.
He sends His command to the earth; His word runs swiftly.
He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes.
He hurls down His hail like pebbles. Who can withstand His icy blast?
He sends His word and melts them; He stirs up His breezes, and the waters flow.
He has revealed His word to Jacob, His laws and decrees to Israel.
He has done this for no other nation; they do not know His laws. Praise the Lord.
Is the feeling of praising God real to us? The Psalmist said that it is “pleasant and fitting to praise Him”, and we can feel his excitement and the authenticity of his praises.
The situation of the “exiles of Israel” was self-inflicted, caused by Israel’s own unfaithfulness. But God “builds up Jerusalem” and gathered them back again because God loved them. We may be unfaithful, but God is faithful. We may have caused ourselves many needless woes, but God "gathers" us to Him again.
The Psalmist must have been referring to himself too when he says that God “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds”. He understood that God was not the cause of his broken heart and wounds, but God was the healer and caregiver. This understanding lifted his spirit to sing praises to God; that’s why it was pleasant and fitting to him. We need to draw close to God to let him heal and care for us. Like the prodigal son, we need to return to the father with humility. God cannot heal a heart that isn’t broken nor care for a person who denies that he is wounded.
The Psalmist understands that “God sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground”. The humility described here is not about what we should have towards each other, but what we should have towards God. We need to humbly seek God, tell Him we need Him and seek His forgiveness. The wickedness described here is not about those who cause harm to others, but those who refuse to acknowledge God and seek His forgiveness.
The gratitude the Psalmist felt for God’s grace spurred his incredible joy, as he finally understood God’s heart; that God has never left him. It was a time for celebration for him, as he made music with his harp and sang “to the Lord with grateful praise”.
The Psalmist realised that neither “the strength of the horse” nor the “legs of the warrior” delights God. We cannot impress God or win His favour through our strength; we will never be able to prove ourselves worthy. But the ones who please God are “those who fear Him”, and “put their hope in His unfailing love”. It is comforting that there is nothing for us to prove, because we know we will fail. Instead, by putting ourselves in God’s mercy and trusting in His unfailing love, we will find relief and joy.
God protects us. He “strengthens the bars” of our gates and “grants peace” to our borders. He provides “blessings” and “satisfies” us “with the finest of wheat”. Protected from trouble from the outside, and well provided for on the inside, what else can we ask for? Why do we rebel against God when we are so assured and satisfied? How fortunate are we to be citizens in this amazing Kingdom?
"Snow” or “frost”, “hail” or “icy blast” of wind, God has power over all the elements. What we are unable to control, God can. He can bring the harshest of winters, and he can “melt them” to bring warmth to us too.
The Psalmist concludes with the most important thing of all, beyond all the healings, protections and blessings - God has “revealed his Word to Jacob”. This is a special covenant with God, the plan of salvation revealed only to the Chosen. We have that plan, and we need to praise Him.
God is awesome. Love Him
Andy is the head of compliance for an international bank and is happily married, with three daughters. He became a disciple of Christ three decades ago, and studies God's Word passionately. He desires to be constantly led by the Spirit.